EU Referendum: St Albans MP Anne Main "backing Britain"
PUBLISHED: 16:55 10 June 2016
Being part of the European Union is a costly burden according to St Albans MP Anne Main, who has criticised Brussels for being 'remote'.
She says that Britain should “cast its gaze globally rather than regionally, and renew and strengthen our ties with the Commonwealth”.
The Herts Advertiser sent a series of questions to the area’s three local politicians, asking each whether they supported the vote to remain or leave, and how either position helped St Albans in the long term.
Anne said she was voting to leave in the June 23 referendum as: “The EU is undemocratic, costly and leads to uncontrolled mass immigration.”
She said that locally, there has been an official Vote Leave campaign which has cross-party support, with campaigners talking to shoppers at the city’s weekly markets, holding speaker events in this area, and who “will be campaigning hard on the ground between now and polling day.”
With regard to the possible long term impact of leaving the EU, Anne said: “I am backing Britain. We will be stronger, more reactive and more in control of our own affairs if we vote to leave.
“We will have the ability to negotiate our own trade deals that suit the strengths of our economy, control immigration and cast our gaze globally.
“St Albans has a rich mix of employment from services to research and development to retail. Like the UK in general, St Albans punches above its weight. From financial to business, most of the EU’s free-trade agreements do not cover services and there is not a single market for services in the EU. We are one of only two member states who trades more with the rest of the world than Europe.”
The politician also hit out at immigration, saying, “We need a fairer system based on the rate and pace of change that we need to ensure we can afford and deliver the public services that we all need. Moreover, we have made it much more difficult for people outside the EU to visit family in the UK. My post bag is constantly full of [communication from] constituents struggling to bring over relations from outside the EU to visit.”
In Parliament recently, she asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer for an estimate of the cost of providing public services for EU nationals who remained in the UK for less than one year.
The reply was that “no estimate has been made of the cost” but the “government’s ambition is to reduce permanent migration into this country to a more manageable level”.
Anne told the Herts Advertiser: “Most of our laws now come from Brussels and MPs here are powerless to stop laws that we do not want. The UK is outvoted more than any country in the EU.
“People in St Albans see me around and know they can contact me easily and I’ll respond. Brussels is remote and very few people know who makes the major decisions.
“The cost is staggering. We spend £20 billion a year in Brussels and get around half of that back. Our net contribution is over £11 billion. EU bureaucrats decide where the money is spent, and the rebate is up for grabs. This is a huge sum and it’s taxpayer’s money, not the EU’s.”